When your quarterback is the leading rusher for your team, as was the case with Daniel Jones of the New York Giants this past Sunday against the San Francisco Forty Niners, this is usually telling of the outcome of the game. Jones was the Giants leading rusher with 5 carries for 49 yards. When this appears to be the best play that you have going for you on offense, it is likely to be a long day.
Week 3 against the San Francisco Forty Niners offered very few positives for the New York Giants. The GMEN were thoroughly dominated by the Forty Niners on both sides of the ball. Time of possession said it all. The Niners had the ball 39:44 to the Giants 20:16, their lowest time of possession since a December 24, 2006 game against the New Orleans Saints. Worst of all, the Giants were soundly beaten by a team comprised on backups. No Garoppolo, no Kittle, no Mostert. The Niners backups Nick Mullens (QB), Jerick McKinnon, Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, J. Wilson Jr. (RB & WR’s), and Ross Dwelley (TE) torched the GMEN to the tune of 25 completions on 36 attempts passing in a thoroughly dominant 36-9 victory.
What is wrong with the Giants?
Pretty much everything. Whereas most analysts predicted that the Giants were at most a 6-game winner this season, it is possible they won’t win any games. This season is not for the faint hearted.
The Giants are at best a work-in-progress. They look competent on some plays but don’t sustain drives. Their defense makes the occasional sack, deflection or run-stop, but can’t seem to make any critical plays when needed. As the statistics indicate, the defense was on the field for what felt like the entire game on Sunday against the Niners, unable to make any needed key third down stops. This makes it easy to say this is a horrible team. Perhaps they are, at the moment. Their record and stats for the 2020 season thus far would indicate as much.
It isn’t like the Giants don’t have any talent. They do, on both sides of the ball. A number of players have shown signs of playmaking capability. Perhaps they simply needed the offseason and 4 preseason games, all lost to the Coronavirus epidemic. Perhaps they need more direction from their coaches and head coach.
Some defensive linemen and linebackers have flashed. Leonard Williams finally appears to be wrapping his arms around the quarterback (2 sacks); Lorenzo Carter has shown the ability to pressure the quarterback although the sacks have been slow to come. Oshane Ximinez and Kyler Fackrell have to get home more in their limited opportunities. Is it as simple as saying that their play is the result of not having an offseason or any preseason games to assess their strengths and weaknesses? Perhaps to an extent, but at some point coaches have to start making a difference. Kyle Shanahan’s play calling gave the Giants fits all game. The Niners scored four touchdowns and two field goals on six visits to the red zone. The Giants, on the other hand, did not run one play inside the Niners 20 yard line. Total domination by the Niners!
The secondary has been spotty at best. Free agent cornerback signing James Bradberry has made several pass breakups in addition to a few interceptions. Julian Love has an interception and has been involved in some quality defensive plays. I think I saw Logan Ryan check in for a play or two against the Forty Niners. However, the other corner position, as expected, has yielded too many key plays.
The Giants are too predictable. When their opponents need a key third down reception, an opposing receiver can always be seen steaking across the middle of the field untouched. The fact is, nobody is making key stops.
The offense has been equally unreliable. As easy as it is to say the team’s fate rested in Saquon Barkley’s hands, they must move on after his devastating season-ending injury. All teams are experiencing a plethora of major injuries this season. The who’s who list includes Christian McCaffrey, Nick Bosa, Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Julio Jones and others.
The injury wave can’t be the result of coincidence. It is the ramification of forcing a league to begin on time without the benefit of an offseason as well as preseason games.
As for the GMEN, growing pains had to be expected for Daniel Jones in Season 2. The bloom has come of the rose. It is time to determine if Jones has what it takes to be the quarterback of the New York Giants. His “dear in the headlights” face from operating behind an offensive line that lacks coherence and continuity is growing thin on fans. He is going to have to make plays on his own. He has definitively shown us that he has the running ability to do so. He must also demand play-calling which keeps opposing teams guessing.
It is indeed a trying time to be a Giants fan. Even though we have been spoiled with 4 Superbowl wins in the last 30 years, we have not had a winning season since 2016 when they went 11-5. It is not too much to ask for a team with a winning record. Look at the models of consistency in the NFL. Look at the Patriots, Saints, Seahawks and Forty Niners; teams that have consistently winning records.
I am not asking for this team to be in the Superbowl this year. Far from it. I am simply requiring progress in some areas; offense, defense, special teams. Just show me improvement week to week that can be built on regardless of the outcome of the game. That is all I am asking for. Without progress, you become a lesser franchise perennial cellar-dweller.
If you watch Sean Payton (head coach, New Orleans Saints) call a game, you know to expect the unexpected. Although he does have a Superbowl-winning quarterback at the helm of his offense, he brings in another quarterback turned jack-of-all-trades Taysom Hill in on offense to mix things up. I am not saying that gadget plays are the key to a New York Giants turnaround. I am saying that more creativity from the coaching staff will be required if the Giants are to achieve any wins in this bizarre virus-impaired season. Up next week: a visit to the Los Angeles Rams.
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